No matter how MMOs are supposed to make us feel, I hardly ever assume that I’m the big gallootin’ hero of Sherwood Forest, sauntering in to save the world and then break for a light lunch. During play, my feelings vacilitate somewhere between “paid exterminator”, “delivery boy” and “evil genius in good guy’s clothing”. Killing critters? It’s like popping bubble wrap, pop pop, soothing and fun in a way, but hardly challenging. It’s often the larger sense of achievement that prompts me to continue, instead of the heat of the moment.
It’s okay — I’m not complaining.
But every once in a while, I — like you, most likely — get into a real pickle of a fight, a challenge that makes my neck hair go all fizzy, and my brain stirring from its bubblewrap-induced stupor to find new and creative uses for the hotbar. You know, those fights that aren’t 1-2-3-repeat, but 1-7-shift-F-holycrapwhereisMYSHIELD! fights. That’s when I start to feel, if not like a hero, then something approaching TV action star quality.
Had one of those scuffles earlier, which would’ve been a lot more cool if I had an audience instead of elbowing the wall in my living room and crowing, “Did you see THAT?”
Captain Crunch was off completing quests in that first ruins area in Lone-Lands (LOTRO players know the one — aka “Don’t Fall Into The Valley Of Elite Spiders” ruins), when a hunter jets by me, going in the opposite direction, as if hell was hot on his heels. Like rogues in WoW, I have a nasty prejudice against the hunter class in LOTRO (and it’s not just the Legolas connection), so I didn’t have much sympathy when I saw a train of about 12 goblins dashing after him. I think I snickered a bit and waved a jaunty fare-thee-well to hunter #109,242 (as I like to call him).
That’s about when the train broke and the critters started rubberbanding back to their starting positions — NPC monsters are very homesick, I guess, and can’t wander away too far without feeling the pangs of Ma’s cooking. This means they all ran right by me, and while trains of mobs in these modern games aren’t supposed to latch on like they used to, 8 of them triggered me as a threat on their way by, touched home base, and came back.
Long story short, I got swarmed, my morale bar began dropping quickly, and my herald (“Padre” the friar) had a sudden case of death. But unlike some other retreat-prone classes (hunters?), we captains relish a good scrap, and I didn’t think twice about starting up my attack cycle. I hit a pot to stop the bleeding, and needed the first kill to happen quickly so that I could get my self-heal going. That didn’t seem like it was going to happen, so when my morale dropped into the 100’s, I hit my new skill “Last Stand” to stay upright for 15 seconds, long enough for the first kill to give me a heal, then another kill let me trigger my shout thingie that hit the rest of them for a good chunk of health. After a frenzied 45 seconds or so of combat, I stood triumphant over a mound of corpses.
Now, THAT was fun.